KUALA LUMPUR: Umno must temporarily forget its thirst for power if it truly wants to bounce back, party deputy president Mohamad Hasan said today.
“Umno is already half dead. The loss of power has rendered Umno directionless, because all this while, Umno has only known one way of life — to be in power.
“Without power, it is a mess. It is confused and close to death. Why? Because many look to Umno to live; not to revive Umno for the good of the race,” he added.
Mohamad said Umno must come forward, work hard and convince the Malay community that the party will focus all its might in the next decade to be the movement to revive the Malay community.
“Umno must develop ‘The New Malay Renaissance’.
“The Malay community is now at a very tense crossroads. Umno, even in the diminishing of its influence and power, cannot allow the condition of our race to continue to deteriorate.
“Umno must rise up and lead the Malay community in a Malaysia that has already changed,” he said in his speech at the opening of the Wanita, Youth and Puteri wings’ annual assembly here at Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) tonight.
Present were other top Umno leaders as well as close to 2,000 delegates.
Mohamad apologised to the delegates for Umno and Barisan Nasional’s defeat in the last general election.
However, Mohamad said even though Umno had lost, it still had big potential and a long history to offer solutions.
“But what worries me is that when we are beaten, we lose direction. We become flustered, we lose guidance and sanity, as though we do not know what needs to be done.
“I wish to remind you that Umno will not be able to heal itself if we just say sorry. It really isn’t enough.
“What is important now is that we need to think: where and how do we take Umno after this?”
The former Negeri Sembilan menteri besar said Umno can ill afford to delay, give excuses as to why until today it had yet to chart its direction and future for the sake of party members and the Malay community.
“The longer we delay the plan to enlighten Umno, the more people will lose faith in us.
“Just look at what has been happening lately. Many have chosen to walk away from the party’s struggle.”
Mohamad said many were also of the view that Umno will die and will be buried forever. “We remain open-minded on such views.”
‘Accept bitter truth’
Umno must accept the bitter truth that it is no longer in power, Mohamad said.
“Accept this new reality. Live with it and go through it. With an open heart and an open mind.
“I know it is hard. It is alien to us. But this is the way it is. We will not always win for a 1,000 years.”
Mohamad said for the first time in Umno’s long history, the party had lost its power and seen its influence diminished.
“It has lost its appeal to the Malay community. Why is this the case? How has a party that has led the nation for over 60 years become so easily defeated?”
He said this was because the party had failed to understand that Malaysia now has changed.
“This is no longer the old Malaysia. It is a changed Malaysia. It is a modern, global and developed Malaysia.”
Why Umno failed
Mohamad underlined three important phenomena underscoring Umno’s failure in the last election.
These were the rise of a generation that was no longer made up of yes-men and no longer conformist; a new generation of Malays who no longer hold sentimental relations or values for Umno; and Umno and BN’s failure to change with the times.
“The structure, culture, policy and political mindset of Umno and BN are in the 20th century, but Malaysia is already far into the 21st century.
“That said, the party’s biggest crisis is not the fact that we lost power, but that we lost because we lost the trust of the Malays.
“To some Malays, Umno has already lost its moral and value compass.”